Contracting is very competitive. There was a rather humorous expression in the business that echoed in my head when bids were announced and projects awarded. It went something like this, “Contracting is the only business where the winner is the loser.” If one were a smart operator, this was not true, of course. But, it could be true if one was not careful in bidding the project, or had been foolish in preparing the quote. In contracting, the path to success is narrow, and the pitfalls numerous. If our company was the low bidder, we laughingly would say to ourselves, “I wonder what we missed?” Ironically, sometimes something was missed, and it cost us. It did not matter. We had to live with it. One had to stay alert, and stay informed in order to remain solvent.
The expression, again, echoes in my mind as I read about various “Trump” political rallies around the country, and see protestors looking to disrupt events. The purpose of the protesters is clear. It is to silence the message, and the messenger, — Mr. Trump. A recent event at University of Illinois had to go the extreme of being cancelled due to security concerns. Even after being cancelled, event participants faced a number of verbal altercations as they tried to exit the building. For the protesters, mission accomplished. Right? — The purpose in pointing this out is not to endorse any candidate, but to look at the bigger picture. Surrounding these events are implications even more serious and lasting than a Presidential Election.
When discussing the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, it needs to be pointed out that there are several parts. For the purpose of this subject, let’s focus on just two. “Congress shall make no law, — prohibiting —, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble —.” It does not matter who a candidate is or what he/she represents, — they and their supporters have a right to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly. Let’s emphasize “peaceable” assembly. In observing videos and reading headlines, it is evident that the purpose of protesters is not “peaceable assembly,” but to be such a disruption as to silence others. The question needs to be asked, “If the protesters at these events have a viable message, why do they not stage their own event in a peaceable fashion in order to persuade others?” Answer, — because that is not their objective.
The actions of protesters at these events is calculated and intentional. These are not spontaneous in nature. The tactic is called “jamming.” In a political sense, it has the same effect as the word would imply, — to put someone (or a group) in a tight position, — a position from which they cannot move. This is done through personal attacks, accusations, and labelling. To call someone a racist, homophobe, xenophobic, or any other “phobe” is to pigeon hole them, — forcing them to defend an accusation, — and if protesters can shout loud enough, the accused never have a chance to respond. Victims of this tactic are deliberately “jammed” into a position from which they cannot move. Victims have effectively had their “freedom of speech” abridged by the mob, and their right to “peaceable assembly” removed.
In this case, it is not even a majority, but a loud and obnoxious minority at these events which is able to pull this off. One may have the right to free speech, but you do not have a right to be heard. Protesters know full well that their message is not welcome, but speak out of turn in an aggressive fashion. They hope to create fear and anarchy. The result, — cancelled events, verbal altercations, physical conflict, and eventually the real objective, — silencing the opposition. If the protesters wanted their message to be heard in a clear, logical, and convincing manor, they would organize their own event. But, — that is not their purpose!
Yet, some in the news media give this movement credibility. Somehow, being obnoxious and intimidating is not disgraceful. Nonsense! I am not interested in “fair and balanced!” What I am interested in is “truthful objectivity!” Protestors think they have won, but they have lost. We have all lost! To think that one group can silence another with such tactics is an abridgment of our civil liberties as laid out in the very “First Amendment” to our Constitution. Just like a contractor who has not paid attention to the details of his business, and thinks he has scored a winning bid on a project, — protestors are laying the seeds of destruction to their own civil liberties, and to ours, as well. When we abridge another’s freedom, we are indirectly abridging our own.